UQ Holder!, Volume 5 – Review

My journey through Akamatsu’s latest continues with volume five. This one couldn’t quite match the either character or battle-based entertainment of the fourth volume, but it does seem like the manga at least has a solid platform to stand on now. There are definitely plenty of ways to give a story dramatic stakes even if your protagonists can’t really die, and Akamatsu seems to be figuring them out one at a time. It’s still not as compelling within its genre as something like My Hero Academia, which is basically the essence of good shounen, but I know Akamatsu has some smart ideas in there. I’m on for the ride.

You can check out my full review over at ANN, or my notes below!

UQ Holder

Chapter 1

Opening with a classically epic duel between Fate and Evangeline, where each of them get to show what ridiculous superpowers they are

Chapter 2

And then Fate allows for the contrived but still compelling “you may each ask me one question” gambit, where the team learns that Fate wants Tota in order to “rescue” Negi Springfield, and possibly save everyone

Fate is still his old self – unyielding, pragmatic, absolutely driven by hardline goals and a very brutal kind of justice

This story is becoming more and more a true sequel to Negima, meaning those who never read Negima will be getting less and less out of it

Chapter 3

Tota gets another UQ Holder mission, this time to recruit an immortal undercover at an elite academy. The last mission wasn’t that exciting, and didn’t have any larger significance, so hopefully this one goes better. Though Kirie unsurprisingly isn’t coming along, so maybe not

Going undercover in school clothes. Of course Kuromaru ends up stuck in the girls’ uniform. I could see why people would get pretty mad about how this manga treats him

And it’s Karin’s fault again

Ikku decides to tag along. Ikku hasn’t really demonstrated much personality yet, but hopefully that’ll change

Aw jeez, it’s Negima’s Academy City

Chapter 4

Karin actually previously went to this school for another undercover assignment

Apparently there have already been deaths in this case

The school now has a hierarchy, with magic users standing above non-magic users

Tota, of course, picks a fight with these dudes. Way to keep a low profile

But it does demonstrate he’s becoming a more layered person, and shifting based on his experiences

And of course he wins the duel and becomes a celebrity. Damnit, Tota

Though I am liking the overall team dynamic more now

Chapter 5

Now they’re actually investigating a murder mystery. More mixing up the style of storytelling

“We can’t give the immortal hunters and the exorcists any more excuses.” UQ Holder also working to demonstrate immortals can be a part of society

Santa Sasaki is the target. A hacker, and someone who’s been alive for 80-some years or something. Tota and Kuromaru end up accidentally rooming with him

Chapter 6

He’s a “psion.” We see him crushing some kids who were picking on a homeless man with magic

It seems like he can just phase through things, and make people phase through things as well

Tota learns how to shundo across walls in about five seconds

Intangibility and telekinesis. A good fight making use of Ikku’s talents

And he can possess people! Pretty strong set of powers!

“We don’t call them psychic powers; we call them unique skill holders.” Powers that can’t be taught, and are extremely rare

Chapter 7

Santa wants them to leave, but Tota is just so damn friendly and likable that he pretty much instantly screws up this plan. Cooking good food, showing genuine interest in Santa’s lifestyle, etc

Santa gets tricked into having fun all day

Santa seems like some kind of vengeful ghost, angry at the students of the school for… bullying him to death in life, I’d guess

“He doesn’t remember, but he’s already dead”

Chapter 8

“The students say he killed himself because he couldn’t take the bullying”

He’s a revenant

Lots of murders in a row

“Sayoko’s curse” – it’s actually a girl ghost killing all these people, a wraith

Chapter 9

Solid fight between Karin and the wraith

“There have been real victims. We can’t let our emotions get the better of us”

Sayoko actually empowered Santa somehow

And Kirie arrives